Giovanna Joyce Imbesi
In Loving Memory
Our founder, hero & inspiration to live life fully…
Giovanna Joyce Imbesi, LACNETS founder, was a patient advocate, pianist, and composer based in Los Angeles. She lived fully with neuroendocrine cancer for 14 years and served as a model of compassion, love and kindness.
In 2005, after several years of misdiagnosis, Giovanna was diagnosed with metastatic small bowel neuroendocrine cancer. She understood that those with a rare cancer may feel isolated, and sharing similar experiences may lessen the fear of the unknown and offer comfort. It became her mission to help others in the NET community. Her vision was to create a community for a healing exchange of educational resources and emotional support for all affected by neuroendocrine cancer.
Against all odds, Giovanna went on to receive an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management with the sole intent of launching LACNETS.
In 2012, she founded the non-profit GeneratePossibility and the Los Angeles Carcinoid Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (LACNETS) program. Giovanna's physician, Dr. Edward Wolin, was the inaugural speaker for the first LACNETS' patient education meeting.
Through LACNETS, Giovanna's aspiration was to create a more "NET-fluent" world. She wanted to change the narrative from associating NET with famous people who die from the disease to raising awareness of the more than 180,000 people who live with the disease. Giovanna wrote, "Each one of us has the ability to help change those numbers in our own community. There are more opportunities to share more about NET and add one more person to the extended global family of NET awareness."
Giovanna helped create tools, such as NET VITALS, to improve communication between patients and physicians. She believed that increased awareness equates to more research, which leads to improved treatments and patient outcomes. Giovanna received the 2016 Monica Warner Advocacy Award, as well as the 2019 Cedars-Sinai Patient Leadership Award, for her inspiring work in patient advocacy.
Giovanna Joyce Imbesi passed away peacefully on November 24th, 2019. On her last day, Giovanna said with great pride that her greatest legacy was LACNETS. She felt blessed by this community.
Giovanna often said, "Aging is a privilege." She celebrated life and connectedness. She believed in practicing gratitude, even appreciating the difficult times. She was grateful for the thousands of neuroendocrine tumor physicians, researchers and healthcare providers who work on the behalf of NET patients every day.
LACNETS works daily to honor Giovanna's vision, by serving the NET community she established, and helping others to live life richly and fully with NET like she did.
Watch the tribute video honoring Giovanna Joyce Imbesi by Rich Tamayo, Emmy Winning Video Producer & a friend of LACNETS
For Giovanna, music was medicine. Her musical compositions can be heard on "Short Stories - piano music for healing, meditation & relaxation" recorded while in recovery from neuroendocrine cancer surgery. These pieces were inspired by her belief in the healing power of music as a vital element of our well-being. She frequently contributed music to NET causes.
A frequent speaker on living with neuroendocrine cancer and the healing power of music, Giovanna was featured as one of six leaders in Integrative Cancer Care at the 2018 Symington Public Forum at Commonweal.
We hope that Giovanna's song and her own words, "Give Me Peace," bring some comfort and peace.